When 'junk items' become valuable in Covid-driven crisis

LIFE'S difficulty in times of pandemic would easily drive "unwanted junk" away from anyone's possession.

Junked empty bottles of alcoholic drinks, rusty iron or steel objects and dysfunctional electronic devices such as an old TV set, electric fan, refrigerator, air conditoners -- you name it -- one can make a meager pocket money out of it.

When the chips are down, these items are considered valuable for an instant cash apart from the pleasure of enjoying a very timely opportunity to clean out the house's closet and surroundings with a good purpose.

"Kon wala nag Covid, dili nako madumdoman ang mga junk items palibot sa balay nga pwede pa diay ma kwarta," said mini sari-sari store owner Onie Canete when a junk seller in motor cab roamed one sunny Wednesday morning in the poor neighborhood of Zone 5, Barangay Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro.

Onie was happy to receive P120 for some rusty metal roofs and plastic bottles.

"Kon kabalo pa lang ko nga tag P1 ilang palit basiyo sa Tanduay, daghan unta akong natigom," said a young father Koka. To which Dodo, just among his naughty drinking mates, quickly averred: "Pag Covid ra man sab ka nagsugod inom sa Tanduay."

Dodong Barcomo, 41, has been collecting junk items for about 20 years now.

While the junk trade is doing well in these most trying times when economic crisis arose, Barcomo said he still prefers buying junkies during the time when there's still no coronavirus.

"Tinuod midaghan ang mapalit nga junk items pero access ang problema. Strikto na kaayo labi na sa Opol town area dili na ka basta-basta makalusot parehas sa una," Barcomo said.

For unusable things, Barcomo pays P30 each for TV set and electric fan, P700 for air conditioner and P800 for refrigerator, depending on its size.

Former junk seller Toto Palad shared that for only P500 capital, one can profit to as much as P1,500 when the assorted garbage stuff are sold to the junk shops in the city.

"Just imagine sa hilit or sa bukid nga area ang botelya paliton ra namo sa 25 cent nga mohalin sa 1.75 pag-abot sa syudad," Palad said.

However, Palad said he quit lately and look for a job that is less tiring and health-risk.

"Ang kahago ang di ma agwanta labi na kon mag ulan, mangabuak pa ang botelya ug kanang ma-flat imong motor tungod sa kahabog og kabug-at sa kargada," he said.

"Naa pa gyod koy kauban sa una pag-adto namo sa bukid nag-inom lang ice water gipareglahan gidunggab. Isa sab nga hinungdan na-discourage maong ni-undang ko," he added.

For Barcomo, who makes it sure he always has P1,000 cash in hand every time he left home for the daily grind, he could not imagine leaving the very thing that he loves most for already two decades long.

"Guol kaayo ko adtong one month nga wala ko kasuroy sa pagpamalit og mga junk items gumikan lage sa Covid. Now nga akong igsoon mitabang aduna na sab koy gamay nga capital, akong ampo nga mawala ang Covid kay mas ginansya kon daghang area atong maadtoan nga wala nay exit pass o checkpoint nga problemahon," Barcomo told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.


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